The Almost-Empty Hourglass Miracle – Entry 195

Dear Diary

Who would have believed it? Believed that the day would finally come? I think this entry is the ‘happily ever after‘ that we’ve been desperately hoping for but realistic of the slim chance of it happening. I’m not talking about proposals or getting married, sorry to disappoint you (even I need more time before I’m ready for that). This entry is the light at the end of the tunnel with dating Karate Kid – we got there team, we got there.

The start of the week did not show much hope for promises being kept. Karate Kid was sick with a cold and was taking days off work. I was preparing myself for him finding any way possible to avoid introducing me to his family or meeting mine. The weekend coming (of the 3rd and 4th March) was his last chance of meeting the month deadline set by me for meeting his family.

With this in mind, I distracted myself with online dating. There are only two out of sixty men that I agreed to start talking with. Most had on their profile that they weren’t interested in having children or didn’t have sufficient descriptions of what they were looking for or enough clear photos of themselves. The conversation is always stock-standard and boring online, but One must persist. Despite Karate Kid still being in the picture, I assumed that he’d fail to keep his promise, so I wanted other Potentials in the ‘pipeline’ so that it was a smooth transition back into the dating pool. I didn’t want any downtime from dating as I could be at risk of relapse and going back to Karate Kid. I decided that I wouldn’t meet with any of them for a proper date until Karate Kid had officially failed.

As you read in the last diary entry, things took a turn for the unexpected on Tuesday evening….after meeting with my newly single friend and further cementing my plan to ditch Karate Kid after the weekend and move on, I signed into Facey and saw the photo he’d uploaded of us from our date on the previous Sunday night. This was significant as it was the first time he’d ever posted a couple shot of us. He also put a comment on the photo saying it was a date with the amazing and gorgeous Anastasia Anonymous….what had come over him?

I was genuinely surprised that he’d uploaded it as it was out of character for him. I had mixed emotions as it was a sweet gesture, but not enough to keep me if he didn’t keep his promise by the coming weekend. I was a little irritated as it was going to make things messier breaking up with him. Before, not many people knew that we were seeing each other. Now, after making that post, there’d be more people to tell that we’d broken up.

I sent a message to my newly single girlfriend that I’d had dinner with earlier that evening to tell her the news. She wrote back saying ‘whaoo that’s huge – that’s progress‘. I decided that despite it being huge progress, that it still wasn’t enough and that he would need to keep his promise for me to continue seeing him.

My newly single friend then told me that Mr Nice Guy had invited her to go to comedy on Saturday night with his sister and her boyfriend…it was an unofficial double date! and the start of the meet the family phase. To my knowledge, it would be their third date together. She asked me what she should do. I thought about it and then told her that if she wasn’t quite ready to meet his sister, that she could be ‘busy’. I told her that he’d certainly invite her out again for something else soon so that she would just be delaying the inevitable if she continued to see him.

I haven’t heard from my friend since, but I assume that she met with Mr Nice Guy as he sent me a message the other day asking me if I’d be able to tell him more about her. I told him that she’s absolutely lovely and that what you see is what you get. He then asked if I knew how she feels about him….that’s a question I cannot answer for two reasons. One, I honestly don’t know how my girlfriend feels about him as she hasn’t confided in me this. All I know is that she is interested but hasn’t made up her mind yet. Two, he needs to keep taking her out and impressing her before he can relax because he has her ‘in the bag‘. There’s no way that I’m selling my friend short of a proper courtship. Dating is meant to be the fun part.

There’s also a third reason too, which isn’t appropriate for me to share with Mr Nice Guy as it’d likely crush his enthusiasm and confidence in one foul blow. From what I can tell with my conversations with my newly single girlfriend, she is still window shopping for men. This is an important process as it means that she’s making an informed choice when she eventually selects Mr Nice Guy. If she doesn’t go through the paces of meeting for coffee and essentially interviewing other men, how will she be sure that she’s selecting the best man for her? I’m convinced that she’ll choose Mr Nice Guy in the end, but she needs to decide this for herself in her own time.


 

So what about the miracle that I promised you in the title of the entry? Well, Dear Diary, it all started during the week when Karate Kid called to discuss our weekend plans. At the end of the conversation before we hanged up, I said to him calmly and peacefully:

KK, I’d really appreciate it if you organised breakfast with a family member on the Saturday morning before we drive North on our road trip.”

He squirmed a bit and didn’t make any promises. I left it at that. I’d done as much as I could and wasn’t going to force his hand. If he didn’t organise a meeting, we’d still go on the road trip, but we wouldn’t visit my family to do an official meeting on the way back like we’d discussed (he didn’t need to know that, though).

On Thursday night, Karate Kid phoned again. In this conversation, he told me that we would be having breakfast with his mother on Saturday morning before starting our road trip……my jaw almost dropped. He actually organised it…..

Karate Kid then went on to say that when he told his mother that we were dating that she got upset with him. She was upset because he’d brought me to the house the weekend before and hadn’t formally introduced me. Also, she was upset because they hadn’t cleaned the house before I arrived. Karate Kid had just shrugged his shoulders at her which probably made it worse. It was nice to know that she cared enough to clip his ears over it.

On the Friday night, I met Karate Kid in the city to go as his ‘plus one’ to a friend’s birthday. The event was relatively low key and I spent most of the evening talking with whoever was sitting close to me.

The Photographer was also at the party, do you remember him? He’s the one that was talking to me at the New Years Eve party but didn’t pursue anything further. Close to the end of the party, Karate Kid, The Photographer and I went to get something to eat. The conversation was interesting as The Photographer mentioned twice that he didn’t notice anything between us at the New Years Eve party. He asked us directly when we started dating and I vaguely answered by saying it had been a couple of months. I could tell that he didn’t buy my answer but I wasn’t going to elaborate.

The conversation felt like it became more invasive with The Photographer observing our interactions. We knew exactly what he was doing because he told us that he regularly photographs couples for their engagement parties and weddings. He told us that night that he gains a lot of insight into relationships by seeing how they talk about each other when he asks them questions. He said that the questioning was important so that he could create a safe bond with the couple to make them more comfortable with being photographed. That night, both Karate Kid and I felt like we were being examined for weaknesses in our relationship. At the end of the day, his opinion didn’t matter.

 


 

We woke up early on the Saturday morning to clean my car and pack our luggage for the road trip. We would firstly drive one hour South to pick up his mother and take her to breakfast. After that we would drive five hours North to reach our road trip destination. I would do all the driving as my car in manual and Karate Kid can only drive automatic. I would also do all the driving because his car had been at the mechanics at the start of the week and I had no confidence in it’s ability to cope with getting us from A to B.

As we drove to meet Karate Kid’s mother, I realised that I wasn’t as nervous as I should be. I think this can be attributed to asking him so many times and practically forcing him to introduce me to her. I hadn’t even had time to think about if I really wanted to meet her yet (a bit too late to go back now) because I was so focused on him doing things the way they should be properly done.

I asked Karate Kid in the car how I should refer to his mother. He thought for a long time and said that he had no idea what I should call her because he’d never had to think about it before. I told him that he’d need to ask her what she’d like me to call her.

The nerves finally kicked in as we drove into his driveway. I wondered if she’d take one look at me and turn her nose up in disapproval. I was consciously aware that I was not of the same ethnicity as her son and, that culturally, this was important to them. To put my mind at ease I told myself that I was the first girlfriend that Karate Kid had ever introduced to her, that he’d told me a few times that she just wants him to get married and have children, and that she was upset with him for not cleaning the house before I came inside the weekend before. The odds of her accepting me seemed to be in my favour….

When he opened the house door she was in the living room waiting for us. She came outside and we both smiled at each other hello and then she looked down. We walked to my car and I realised that she mustn’t be able to speak English well as she said a few things but nothing that I could understand. When we got into the car she made a comment to Karate Kid that it was very clean (win! I was so glad that I took the time to vaccum it out before we picked her up).

On the drive we were all very quiet. Karate Kid said that his mother was feeling shy. I was surprised as I had prepared myself to be interrogated. I asked Karate Kid to ask her if she had any questions for me. She asked a few things about how many people were in my family, and Karate Kid translated everything for us.

Despite the major language barrier, I felt comfortable and that I wasn’t being judged negatively. We arrived at the restaurant that Karate Kid had selected and we all ate together and shared traditional food. I asked her more about travel and she asked me about my upcoming trip to China with my family.

During breakfast, Karate Kid received a text message from one of his sisters who was excited that we were all eating breakfast together. He said that she said that she would have loved to have joined us if she was able to. It made me wonder if Karate Kid had even bothered to invite her. But, her response was a positive sign that she was excited and that she’d accept me as well.

After breakfast, Karate Kid’s mother wanted to have a photo of us together. I was flattered, this was a really good sign that she must like me. We posed together and then tried to get a selfie with Karate Kid taking the photo. His head was a bit warped because of the angle of the camera so that photo won’t be shared.

We dropped Karate Kid’s mother back at his home and she went inside to get something. She brought back a box of special sweets and said that they were a gift for my mother. I was so surprised and thanked her wholeheartedly for the gesture. I then asked if she’d like to select a succulent plant from my car that I was taking with us North to give to my friend’s mother in the town that I used to live in. She took one of the plants. I felt that I should have been more prepared and brought a proper gift rather than giving her a plant as an afterthought.

Dear Diary, I think it’s safe to say that I’m ‘in‘. The photo and the sweets peace offering are great signs that so fare she approves of our relationship. The true test would now be to see how my family reacted to the news….I had told my mother over the phone on Friday that I’d be bringing someone home to meet the family. I told her that we were just dating and gave her explicit instructions to warm my father to be nice because Karate Kid would be shy.


 

The drive North was painfully long. I was already tired from the trip the late night the night before and then the extra hour of driving South for breakfast. Karate Kid did a good job at keeping me company on the drive. We made regular stops and sampled local foods along the way.

I had promised Karate Kid that we’d stop at a place close to our destination that sold ‘seductive coffee‘. I didn’t know exactly where it was but had a rough idea. When we were close, I was preoccupied with overtaking an annoyingly slow car and trying to control my mild road rage that I completely missed the turn off for the seductive coffee…..Karate Kid was not impressed but took it relatively well. He’d even passed up ordering coffee as the stop beforehand so that he could enjoy the famous seductive coffee….ooopsies. He calmed down soon enough and I promised him that I’d find him even better coffee at the final destination.

We arrived safe and sound at our hotel. For dinner, we walked to a local Indian restaurant which used to be my favourite. Things had changed a lot in the past two years as the people running it were different and the service was exceptionally slow. There was only one other couple in the empty restaurant and two people waiting for take away. We all waited for over an hour for our meals (including the takeaway people). Not much was happening at the back of the restaurant either. The food was delicious when it finally came. The others all complained about their meals taking too long. I apologised to Karate Kid that the service wasn’t as good as what I remembered it to be. He said that it explained why the restaurant was so empty.


 

On Sunday, we had leftover Indian for breakfast, went to local museums and then to one of my other favourite cafes for lunch. We dropped off the succulents to my friend’s mother and then went to get ready for dinner. We were meeting with a married couple for dinner at one of the tastiest Thai restaurants in town. I prayed that things hadn’t changed too drastically in the past two years and that this restaurant would live up to it’s name. After that, we’d go to see a natural phenomenon that takes part at this time of year in that area.

The dinner with the married couple was really nice. They’d made the trip down for my birthday party in December. They had news, they were expecting a baby and we were both invited to their baby shower in June! I was excited for them. Sadly, they had had a baby a couple of years ago but that baby failed to thrive. I’d prepared Karate Kid with this information beforehand so he knew not to ask about babies and family planning. After the dinner and having both been surprised with the baby news, I made a point of telling Karate Kid that the married couple had been married for about five years and that they’d been trying the whole time to start a family. This was a subtle hint that difficulty creating a family could happen to anyone.

On the Monday morning, we had breakfast at the best cafe in town. It had won prestigious awards that even trendy city cafes had competed for. Their divine coffee seemed to make up for the seductive coffee mishap on the drive up.

We then started the drive South. It’d take about 3.5 hours to reach my family’s home. On the drive I prepared Karate Kid for the meeting. I was aware that he’d never had to meet a girlfriend’s family before and I wanted to help him as much as I could. I gave him examples of safe conversation topics to have with my father, mother and little brother. I warned him to avoid talking about politics with my father. I also warned him that my mother would hug him because she is a hugger. On the way, we stopped to get flavoured peanuts as peace offerings for my father. We also got small Star Wars figurines for my little brother. My mother had a succulent plant selected for her and also the sweets from Karate Kid’s mother.

As we got closer to my home town I asked Karate Kid if he was feeling alright. He said that he was and so I stroked his hair and back of neck to help calm any nerves. When we arrived my family were all inside with the table set ready for lunch.

True to form, my mother hugged Karate Kid as he came in the door. My little brother and father shook his hand. Karate Kid gave out the peace offerings and all of my family were happy to receive them.

Mum finished of preparing lunch and Karate Kid helped me to upload audio books onto my father’s reader device (you may remember me mentioning a while back that my father is completely blind). Karate Kid has his laptop with him so I figured that a little gesture like uploading fresh books for my father would help him win him over just that little bit more. My mother sent me a text the following day to say that the upload didn’t work….I guess it’s the thought that counts? next time I’ll make sure that they’ve successfully uploaded.

The lunch went really well and it was as comfortable as I could have hoped for. I’m sure it will be easier as my family get to know Karate Kid, but for now, it was good enough. We stayed for maybe 1.5 hours before driving South. The only feedback that I got from my mother was that she could tell that Karate Kid was nervous and that she was not happy with how she cooked the steak and hoped that she’d get a second chance. I think that means that they liked him.

At my place, I cooked us dinner and then Karate Kid drove home to rest and get prepared for the week ahead. Things felt calm and good between us. We had both met each other’s families and it felt like we’d become closer because of it.


 

The next morning Karate Kid sent a text message:

Good morning wabbit, I had a great time spending time with you this weekend 🙂

Don’t worry about paying for the accommodation. You had already paid for the meals and the tours.

My sister is cooking lunch on Easter Sunday (2 April) and has invited us. It will just be the family. So if we haven’t got anything on that weekend we can have lunch with her.

What time are you flying out on Thursday?”

Dear Diary, I cannot believe how much things have change in the space of a week. Not only is his sister inviting us to Easter lunch, but he said ‘if we haven’t got anything on that weekend…’ – this is a big deal as he isn’t inviting me to lunch with his family, he’s checking what our plans as a couple are first before committing to going…wow.

I replied later in the day:

Hello cuddly raccoon

I had a wonderful time spending time with you too.

That is really sweet of your sister to invite us for lunch 🙂 sounds nice.

This Thursday I will be flying out in the morning. I still need to check the ticket, I have a feeling it’s 8.30 a.m.

Xo”

This weekend coming is my friend’s wedding!! She is the one I visited in January. I’m one of her bridesmaids – so excited!

Karate Kid replied an hour later:

Ahhh I see. I just finished work and heading to the car.

I’m thinking either coming over as it’s our night (not planning to stay the night) or give you some time to pack and get ready for your trip as you are flying Thursday morning.”

I loved how he referred to Tuesday night as ‘our night’. I hadn’t started packing for the trip and couldn’t find my passport but agreed to him coming over. I asked if he would like me to prepare something for dinner and so started cooking something nice.

I had been searching for my passport for the past two hours with no luck. I wondered at what point should I tell the bride that one of her bridesmaids may not be able to enter the Country…..I also wondered what the likelihood of me flying to the capital city the next day to organise a new passport on the same day would be…..thankfully, I thought to look in my car’s glove box and found it there. I’d placed it there after photocopying it at work to apply for houses to rent a few weeks ago. Phew!….Let’s not tell the bride 😉

When Karate Kid left my house on Tuesday night I blew him a kiss goodbye. He walked away and then called out my name before I shut the door. I opened the door again and he gave me a proper kiss and wished me a safe and fun time at the wedding.

Can you believe it, Dear Diary? Who would have thought that’d he’d pull through at the last minute? I am still processing it all….

Anastasia xo

 

 

IMAGE: [JANA GOUTHOVA] © 123RF.COM

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